HBF Response - Property Investment Funds (PIF)

12 Sep, 2004

Land supply is the key element of the housebuilder's business. Obtaining the right planning permission within the right time-scale is essential. A companys land-buying skills and the quality of its current landholding provide the only basis for long term growth.

The most sustainable development option at the start of the 21st Century is to concentrate people and jobs at the heart of our urban areas. Housebuilders are capitalising on opportunities for urban regeneration and have an increasing portfolio of brownfield sites in towns and cities. These sites will often include redundant ex-industrial buildings that with sensitive refurbishment can satisfy customer demands for space and light.

Where brownfield land cannot meet housing need, the governments preferred option is for sustainable urban extensions. Properly planned urban extensions can, for example, be integrated with the existing public transport and sewerage infrastructure. They can be mixed-use, thereby eliminating many car journeys to work or to the shops.

Opportunities exist for graduates as trainee land buyers or negotiators. A degree in land management is particularly appropriate, though not essential. Enthusiasm to gain a working knowledge of the industry, willingness to undertake delegated tasks, good written and spoken English, and an ability to communicate with people at all levels and from different business backgrounds are all equally important attributes.

I studied for a degree in Building at Nottingham Trent University. I joined Redrow because I was keen to pursue a role in land acquisition, which I had touched on during university. Housebuilding has changed dramatically during my time with the company. Concepts that have been employed in other established retail sectors such as customer care, quality control and product development are all key issues for forward thinking housebuilders.

Mark Mainwaring, land director, Redrow Homes

There was a time when not many women would have considered entering what was perceived as a male-dominated industry, but this has changed as more womens achievements have been recognised. This has actively encouraged other women and I certainly believe more will obtain senior roles in the future.

Alison Dowsett, land director, Laing Homes

PIFs Consultation HBF Submission 14 July 2004